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Is there any difference between the Zoom H5 and H4n? Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 20th July 2014
  #1
Gear Head
 

Is there any difference between the Zoom H5 and H4n?

Hello!

I'm about to purchase my first handy recorder and I can't decide between those two. The H5 does offer the option for those mic modules but I don't think I'll ever purchase them. Also, the default mic the H5 is coming with can't be adjusted to 120 degrees for a wider stereo image, and that's the main reason I'm leaning towards the H4n (Unless it's not a big deal). I've got the impression online that the H5 is the successor of the H4n but it seems like it's really not. Anyways, I came here in hope that you can change my view or maybe support it and to hear your general advice and help me decide on my first hand-held recorder.

BTW, I plan on using it to record FX and ambient sounds.

Thanks!
Old 20th July 2014
  #2
KEL
Lives for gear
 

The h5 is quite a bit better than the h4n . First off the preamps are way better which for you should be important. Same ones from the H6. True line ins with pads. Real knobs instead of the two stage way to adjust gain on the h4n . Has a line out. The modules are very nice. If you wanted to turn your h5 into a 4 mic or line-in recorder using outside mics, the Xlr module is only $69...no p48 on the Xlr module though.
Old 20th July 2014
  #3
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KEL View Post
The h5 is quite a bit better than the h4n . First off the preamps are way better which for you should be important. Same ones from the H6. True line ins with pads. Real knobs instead of the two stage way to adjust gain on the h4n . Has a line out. The modules are very nice. If you wanted to turn your h5 into a 4 mic or line-in recorder using outside mics, the Xlr module is only $69...no p48 on the Xlr module though.
I'll check the preamp issue you mentioned. But about those 2 additional inputs - it would've been nice if they featured phantom power because I don't see myself using 2 additional dynamic mics. BTW, this means that the included module is dynamic? Haven't thought about it. Thanks for the reply!

EDIT: It is a condenser.
Old 20th July 2014
  #4
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by germandan View Post
I'll check the preamp issue you mentioned. But about those 2 additional inputs - it would've been nice if they featured phantom power because I don't see myself using 2 additional dynamic mics. BTW, this means that the included module is dynamic? Haven't thought about it. Thanks for the reply!

EDIT: It is a condenser.
True, the add-on modules are condenser, but they're not operating on P48 phantom and none of the modules pass P48. Some of them have a 1/8" stereo input that delivers plug-in power (unbalanced 5 volt or so).

If you need 4 external condensers you want the H6.

The preamps are noticeable quieter on the H5/H6. If you're planning to do ambient type recording you need the best preamps you can get.

Another huge improvement in the H5/H6 is the battery life.

The H5 also has shock mounts on the XY module. Presumably this will reduce handling noise for handheld recording. Handling noise is a severe problem on the H4n, making it basically unusable as a handheld recorder.

The only advantage of the H4n is the flexibility of overdubbing. The overdub capability of the H5/H6 is limited in that each new track must come from a different input. The H4n allows repeated dubs from any input.

Fran
Old 21st July 2014
  #5
KEL
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by germandan View Post
I'll check the preamp issue you mentioned. But about those 2 additional inputs - it would've been nice if they featured phantom power because I don't see myself using 2 additional dynamic mics. BTW, this means that the included module is dynamic? Haven't thought about it. Thanks for the reply!

EDIT: It is a condenser.
True about p48 on the module.. But just the fact that it can be 4 track line ins from external mixer or preamps is something the h4n can never do. I own both the H4n and H6. Love them both for what they can do but the H6 sounds quite nice. I bet the new mic on H5 sounds good. The better preamps, knobs and pads close the deal I think.
Old 21st July 2014
  #6
Gear Addict
 
OzGizmo's Avatar
 

The H4n is better in sunlight or when wearing sunglasses compared to the H5 & H6.
Old 21st July 2014
  #7
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by OzGizmo View Post
The H4n is better in sunlight or when wearing sunglasses compared to the H5 & H6.
Do you mean the display is brighter? It's not an important factor to me honestly.
Old 21st July 2014
  #8
KEL
Lives for gear
 

I find the H6 easier to see in sunlight, maybe because of the colors. The H5 is B&W though..
Old 21st July 2014
  #9
Gear Addict
 
OzGizmo's Avatar
 

The display on my H6 dims after about 30 seconds into record, is this a switch setting or a battery save option?
When its in a dim mode you can hardly see the meters at all.
Old 21st July 2014
  #10
KEL
Lives for gear
 

yes. there is a display power saving mode and a 3 position brightness control both. Look in the system menu. It's tricky to find because it's under "backlight"
Old 22nd July 2014
  #11
Gear Head
 

Thanks for everybody's help! I went with the H5! I hope I did the right choice. I'll only be able to judge when it comes next weekend (My buddy bought it for me in the US because the prices are heaven)...
Old 2nd August 2014
  #12
Gear Nut
 
SonicSense's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by germandan View Post
Hello!

I'm about to purchase my first handy recorder and I can't decide between those two. The H5 does offer the option for those mic modules but I don't think I'll ever purchase them. Also, the default mic the H5 is coming with can't be adjusted to 120 degrees for a wider stereo image, and that's the main reason I'm leaning towards the H4n (Unless it's not a big deal). I've got the impression online that the H5 is the successor of the H4n but it seems like it's really not. Anyways, I came here in hope that you can change my view or maybe support it and to hear your general advice and help me decide on my first hand-held recorder.

BTW, I plan on using it to record FX and ambient sounds.

Thanks!
I might be a little late to the game here since you've already purchased, but there's actually quite a few differences.

We've noticed the overall build quality, sound quality, and functionality is improved on the H5. The interchangeable capsule system is definitely really cool, and lends the recorder useful in way more applications. The H6 X/Y capsule that rotates from 90° to 120° IS compatible with the H5, you just can't buy it separately. The only way you could use that capsule on the H5 right now is if you purchase both an H5 and H6.

If you're interested in some sound comparisons of the Zoom H5, H4n, H6, we have a full library of comparison tracks we just finished putting together. The library also features samples from the Tascam DR-40, DR-07 mkii DR-05, Roland R-26, and Roland R-05.

As of right now, we have audio comparisons of recording a live band, an acoustic singer/songwriter, ambient sound FX, and dialog.

We even have a section dedicated to comparing the handling noise of most of these recorders. You can really tell how much the handling noise has been reduced on the H5 compared to the H4n. The buttons on the H4n ring quite a bit.

You can find all of our comparisons at the Sonic Sense Resource Center. Let me know what you guys think of this! We're always trying to refine our comparison process so that it accurately represents every product we test. Find the comparison here.
Old 16th September 2014
  #13
Here for the gear
 

Valuable discussion, H5 it is!
Old 13th October 2014
  #14
Here for the gear
 

Zoom XYH-6 available separately

Quote:
Originally Posted by SonicSense View Post
The H6 X/Y capsule that rotates from 90° to 120° IS compatible with the H5, you just can't buy it separately. The only way you could use that capsule on the H5 right now is if you purchase both an H5 and H6.
Since October 2014 the Zoom XYH-6 seems to be available separately, at least from thomann.de:
Zoom XYH-6
Old 17th January 2015
  #15
Gear Head
 

Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fran Guidry View Post
The only advantage of the H4n is the flexibility of overdubbing. The overdub capability of the H5/H6 is limited in that each new track must come from a different input. The H4n allows repeated dubs from any input.
Fran
Sorry to resurrect an old thread but this is the only place I've found someone saying the H5 was more limited concerning overdubbing. I've been searching for some details about this but I haven't found anything. I don't have either and I'm interested in buying my first digital recorder. At the moment I've narrowed it down to H5 and Tascam DR44WL.

Can you elaborate on how overdubbing works on the H5? For example if I record a guitar part and then I want to go back and record a fiddle solo on a separate track, can I do that? Can I redo several takes and have them all saved so that I can choose the best one later?

From what you wrote, if I record the guitar part on the first XLR input, then I want to record a fiddle solo with the same mic, I'd have to unplug it and plug it into the second XLR input??

What about using the built-in mics? Can I record the guitar part with the built-in mics and then go back and record a fiddle track on a separate track using the built-in microphones?

Thanks

Last edited by cunparis; 17th January 2015 at 05:44 PM.. Reason: grammar
Old 17th January 2015
  #16
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by cunparis View Post
Sorry to resurrect an old thread but this is the only place I've found someone saying the H5 was more limited concerning overdubbing. I've been searching for some details about this but I haven't found anything. I don't have either and I'm interested in buying my first digital recorder. At the moment I've narrowed it down to H5 and Tascam DR44WL.

Can you elaborate on how overdubbing works on the H5? For example if I record a guitar part and then I want to go back and record a fiddle solo on a separate track, can I do that? Can I redo several takes and have them all saved so that I can choose the best one later?

From what you wrote, if I record the guitar part on the first XLR input, then I want to record a fiddle solo with the same mic, I'd have to unplug it and plug it into the second XLR input??

What about using the built-in mics? Can I record the guitar part with the built-in mics and then go back and record a fiddle track on a separate track using the built-in microphones?

Thanks,
Michael
My apologies. I have the H6 and have not used an H5 at all. I incorrectly assumed they were similar in their overdub capabilities.

The H6 has very limited overdubbing and as I said requires that you use a different input for each overdub. So only one pass is possible with the built-in mics, followed by one pass on each of the other four inputs.

According to the H5 manual this is not the case for the H5.

https://www.zoom-na.com/sites/defaul...dfs/E_H5_0.pdf - page 33.

The manual states that multiple passes can be done on a single input and that files can be reassigned when the recorder is in MULTIFILE MODE.

MULTIFILE MODE is simply the absence of stereo linking.

So my original statement is in error regarding the H5. Of course I hope you'll dig through the manual for yourself and confirm that the available features meet your needs.

Fran
Old 17th January 2015
  #17
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fran Guidry View Post
My apologies. I have the H6 and have not used an H5 at all. I incorrectly assumed they were similar in their overdub capabilities.

...

According to the H5 manual this is not the case for the H5.
Thanks for the correction, which is good news for me. I'm surprised this feature isn't available on the H6, but I'm glad it's available on the H5.
Old 9th August 2015
  #18
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cunparis View Post
Thanks for the correction, which is good news for me. I'm surprised this feature isn't available on the H6, but I'm glad it's available on the H5.
Could someone confirm that H5 has better overdub capabilities than zoom H6? I recently bought H6 and still can return it. I can confirm that H6 can overdub only to different track from specific input and there is no track Bouncing like in H4n, also You cannot move tracks. In H5 is it similar or maybe its more like in H4n? Maybe someone knows other portable recorders with built-in mics with H4n-like overdub capabilities and probably some better preamps?
Old 26th December 2015
  #19
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pawel12 View Post
Could someone confirm that H5 has better overdub capabilities than zoom H6? I recently bought H6 and still can return it. I can confirm that H6 can overdub only to different track from specific input and there is no track Bouncing like in H4n, also You cannot move tracks. In H5 is it similar or maybe its more like in H4n? Maybe someone knows other portable recorders with built-in mics with H4n-like overdub capabilities and probably some better preamps?
Hi, did you ever find the answer to your question? did you exchange the H6 for the H5? I still haven't purchased a recorder so I'm interested in the H5's overdubbing capabilities.
Old 27th August 2016
  #20
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cunparis View Post
Hi, did you ever find the answer to your question? did you exchange the H6 for the H5? I still haven't purchased a recorder so I'm interested in the H5's overdubbing capabilities.
I exchanged H6 for H4n which I'm satisfied with for now, as it has track bouncing and some guitar amp simulations. Not sure about H5, You can check similar thread, # 5 https://www.gearslutz.com/board/remo...ernal-mic.html
Old 23rd November 2017
  #21
Here for the gear
 

Purely for Podcasting purposes, is there enough of a difference in quality of Preamps for the H5 than the H4N to be worth the extra money? I know the dials are better than the H4N for sure, but that kinda feels like a convenience thing if I'm sitting home podcasting. For some it may not matter but for me that extra $70 can make a pretty big difference.. Then if you add in the capsule for the extra 2 mics, that's another $70 so now you're talking basically another $150.. Anyway, I guess the one thing I don't know about that I'm asking the board is how much better the preamps are than the H4N, because ultimatley that will be what determines which route I go.. Thanks!
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